Andrew Liu, graphic designer in the making
Welcome to our spotlight podcast in which we feature a different Mustang on campus. Today weâ€™re here with sophomore Andrew Liu, as he discusses his t-shirt and bag designs, starting his business and inspirations.
Vivian Lee: When did you first start making T-shirts or designing them, and why did you do this?
Andrew Liu: Last year like around the end. I wanted to be unique and creative. Kind of like expand my horizon and just try something different and to get more experience at business.
Lee: So do you want to go in this business of t-shirt designs?
Liu: I donâ€™t know; Iâ€™m still experimenting. I enjoy doing it for now.
Lee: So what are you expanding from? What would you first start with? What is your basis?
Liu: I think expanding from ideas.
Lee: Were you originally an artist?
Liu: I used to love drawing, and my mom would take me to art classes. I was in art in middle school during sixth grade because everyone had to take art, but I loved the class. But then I kind of strayed away from that, and sometimes during my spare time I would draw and doodle.
So, graphic design was kind of interesting to me because I didnâ€™t actually have to draw it myself but just design, edit and personalize it to how I would like it to look. So, I think I really like that concept where I donâ€™t have to take hours and hours of drawing something and then publishing it.
Since I started off doing graphic design, if you were going to look at my new website, I havenâ€™t submitted any designs yet for my new one, but Iâ€™m thinking of straying away from graphic design [and] more into drawing it myself. My concept for my graphic design and the new one is simple, not complicated, so Iâ€™m aiming to be more and more simple.
Lee: What made you go from this change to a simpler idea?
Liu: I realized that my designs were being too complicated and some people didnâ€™t even understand what it was. So, I was trying to make it more universal and less words but more meaning or more understanding.
Lee: Are you working with another company to do this or is this completely on your own?
Liu: I call them â€śsupportersâ€ť but itâ€™s the companies that I get my materials from. So on my website, I included one of my tabs for them.
Lee: How did you come by these sponsors? Did you ask them or did they approach you?
Liu: No. Theyâ€™re not sponsors because I pay. I call them â€śsupportersâ€ť because Iâ€™m getting stuff from them, and Iâ€™m making it into my own.
Lee: So this is completely run by you?
Liu: Yes, but I had help from a friend.
Lee: So how does it feel to be able to do this all by yourself?
Liu: It was really overwhelming because I had to manage money, and I had to learn about investment. A lot of responsibilities which I didnâ€™t feel comfortable with because it was my first time, but I just had to get used to it and try to find out and explore.
Lee: Do you feel like youâ€™re more comfortable with it now?
Liu: Yes, since itâ€™s been a few months already since I started. Even though a lot of people donâ€™t know about it, I hope they do. I hope they get impressed by what Iâ€™m doing.
Lee: So how else beside your website are you trying to expand your companies to reach other people?
Liu: Iâ€™m going to be also selling plants. I have so many ideas, so on my new website I put the product section which I havenâ€™t opened yet. The product section is basically where Iâ€™m going to be selling my design of shirts and bags. Iâ€™ll call the other section â€ślittle treasuresâ€ť. To be simple, theyâ€™re random things that I am interested in selling to other people, and one of them would be plants.
Lee: Do you like plants too?
Liu: Yes, I love succulents since I got introduced to them last year also and Iâ€™ve grown a bit at my house.
Lee: Is this kind of your way into the world now since you just started high school?
Lee: Are you planning to go into this business or any kind of business?
Lee: So how do you feel about your company right now?
Liu: I feel like itâ€™s still growing, and I hope itâ€™s still growing. I would really like to improve on it and make people more aware of it, and hopefully theyâ€™ll like it.
Lee: Do you have other people working for you or helping you at the moment?
Liu: I started having help from people, but now Iâ€™m planning on doing everything by myself. I havenâ€™t informed them yet.
Lee: So now that youâ€™re more comfortable with it, you plan to take over the whole thing?
Lee: Where do you get your inspirations for your designs?
Liu: I use an app to make the designs for the graphic ones. I just use the designs, and I make them personalized and edit them. But since Iâ€™m starting to draw them, I usually get my ideas from doodling around. If it looks good Iâ€™ll try to perfect it.
Lee: So how do you feel when you finish a design, and it goes up for sale and starts selling?
Liu: When I first make a design Iâ€™m not really sure if people will like it, but after someone asks for it and I make it into the shirt or the bag, I still feel insecure about it. But when they give me their feedback and say they like it, then Iâ€™m good.
Lee: Why do you feel so insecure?
Liu: I guess insecure has always been in my nature because I donâ€™t know how people will judge the things I do or what I give out to the world.
Lee: Do you think this business has helped your insecurity by how people give you feedback?
Liu: Yes, I think it has. I guess [when] people tell me they like what Iâ€™m doing encourag[es] me to continue. I really like how I got to get people to say â€śYouâ€™re doing a good jobâ€ť and â€śI like the designâ€ť and stuff like that.
Lee: Whatâ€™s the best feeling you had from this company?
Liu: I think the best feeling Iâ€™ve had is having an idea that I just love, and I would like to follow and explore on that idea. The second one is finishing off a product. After I iron it on, wrap it up and make it look ready, I give it to the person who ordered it. I just love [thinking] â€śOh, this person wanted this from me,â€ť and theyâ€™re hopefully going to like it.
By Vivian Lee, Tech editor